Miami Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Accidents Lawyer: Sean M. Cleary
How Do We Help in an Uninsured Motorist Accident Case?
Our attorney will explore with you every possible avenue for economic compensation. Often, you may have additional protection under your auto insurance company.
Sean M. Cleary
According to the Insurance Research Council, Florida is the state with the highest uninsured motorist (UM) rate in the U.S., with an estimated rate of 26.7%. In fact, about one in six drivers in Florida has no coverage at all (uninsured) and the majority have minimal liability coverage (underinsured.) This means that if any one of those drivers were to collide into your vehicle, not only would your life be endangered and your body potentially injured, you would likely have to foot the bill. Florida also is the state with one of the highest accident rates. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were 402,385 traffic accidents in Florida in a recent year, and 2,924 of the crashes were fatal.
Florida Law Requires Auto Insurance
While Florida law requires residents to have auto insurance, Florida is the only state that doesn't mandate drivers to carry bodily injury liability coverage. Rather, in Florida the only insurance that is mandatory meets the following minimum requirements:
$10K in no-fault personal injury protection (PIP)
$10K in property damage liability (PDL)
PIP covers 80% of your medical bills and 60% of your lost wages after an accident, regardless of fault, up to $10K. That’s it. Insurance to cover your medical bills, and property damage insurance to repair a car. The PIP statutory minimum insurance does not provide full coverage. Think about the situations when your injuries require you to be hospitalized or have surgery, chances are that 10K is not even going to cover a few hours in the hospital. That means that even drivers that comply with the law are operating vehicles without adequate auto insurance.
When Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage Comes Into Play
Florida is a no-fault insurance state; therefore, your own auto insurance company is the primary party when it comes to paying your medical costs. The obligation to cover expenses only extends to the maximum amount of PIP coverage under your policy. Given today’s high medical expenses, that’s often too little to cover the medical bills and other costs.
Ordinarily, the at-fault driver would have to cover your medical costs once your PIP has been exhausted. But, very often, the other motorist in a car accident has:
Very limited bodily injury liability coverage
No liability coverage
Cannot be identified (hit and run) whether you are in your vehicle or you are a pedestrian or bicycling
In fact, you may have supplementary protection under your own auto insurance policy in the form of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Many policies include it anyway, although Florida law doesn’t require insurers to offer this additional coverage. In that case, this coverage will kick in to protect you after your PIP runs out.
If the driver who hit you has personal assets, we can also bring a lawsuit against him or her personally to recover money, but if a person doesn’t have insurance, they usually don’t have financial assets either.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage also comes into play in pedestrian, bicycling and other accidents.
Florida Motorists Should Always Purchase UM/UIM Coverage if Possible
This is such an essential issue in the state of Florida that insurance providers are required by law to offer uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) policies. We recommend you take them up on that offer with as much additional coverage as you can afford.
UM also covers lost wages during recovery and pain and suffering. Therefore, if you have been involved in a crash and you carry UM coverage, you might recover more consistent damages. Besides that, Florida does not require drivers to carry insurance that covers injuries to passengers. Through underinsured motorist insurance, those damages will be covered. UM coverage can also make a huge difference in case you are involved in a crash with a rental car. Florida law does not require rental companies to carry insurance that covers the damages done by individuals who rent their vehicles.
Insurers will offer you UM coverage if you also purchase bodily injury liability coverage. UM coverage is usually available at a very reasonable price. If you aren’t sure whether you currently have UM coverage, you should call your provider. But sadly, if the crash has already occurred, you won’t be able to apply it retroactively.
What if there are still significant damages for which you haven’t been compensated after you’ve exhausted your PIP and you don’t have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage?
You're not necessarily out of luck. You may carry other kinds of insurance that might share in the duty to pay. Sometimes, when you think that you would never receive a recovery, you may find that a family household member has uninsured motorist coverage that covers you explicitly as an insured. Our firm had uncovered such coverage many times in the past. An experienced attorney may still be able to seek compensation from third parties whose negligence contributed to your suffering.
How Can The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary Help You in an Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Accident Case?
If an uninsured or underinsured motorist has injured you in Miami, you may try to file a claim through your insurance company only to find that support is lacking. The Miami uninsured and underinsured motorist lawyer at The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary is here to help. We provide our clients with complete legal services from evidence gathering, to identifying available insurance sources and negotiating with insurance companies. While these companies are profit-oriented, our interest is to represent you, as we only get paid if you recover damages.
Insurance companies often do not sympathize with the ordeal of an accident or the injuries incurred and are only concerned about their end costs. They may not take all of the factors of your crash into account and perhaps only cover a small part of your total damages. However, the law is on your side. Even though Florida does not require that motorists have insurance that covers injury to another person, regulations have been put in place to cover these expenses.
Complicated state laws and insurance policies are the best reasons to have an experienced Florida car accident attorney guide you through the aftermath of your accident. Contact our Miami, Florida car accident attorney for a free consultation so that we can brighten your future commute.
What Can I Do After Being Hit By An Underinsured Driver? »
After being hit by an underinsured driver in Florida, damages will be covered by your insurance policy. You'll have to make a claim to your insurance company and you can sue the at-fault driver for additional damages. Rely on the sound representation available at the Law Offices Of Sean M. Cleary.
What Happens If I Get Into An Accident in Miami With An Underinsured Driver? »
When the at-fault driver is underinsured, your options are to collect damages from your insurance company, and this works if your costs are minimal, or to seek damages from that driver. Never sign documents for the at-fault party without consulting your insurance company or your lawyer first.